Why Griselda Is One Of Hip Hop's Hardest-Working Collectives

BYWyatt Westlake5.0K Views
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BET Awards 2021 - Arrivals
LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JUNE 27: (L-R) Conway The Machine, Westside Gunn, and Benny The Butcher of Griselda attend the BET Awards 2021 at Microsoft Theater on June 27, 2021 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Rich Fury/Getty Images,,)

Griselda is strong as a group and as a label, signing established artists and putting on new talent.

It seems like every era is Griselda's season. Almost every quarter of the year, we get at least one release from a Griselda artist. The group comprises Westside Gunn, Conway The Machine, and Benny The Butcher. Mach-Hommy, who recently reconciled with Westside Gunn, was involved with Griselda early on. The Griselda Records label also consists of skilled rappers, including Armani Caesar, Boldy James, Rome Streetz, Stove God Cooks, and Estee Nack.

Not even midway through the year, Conway The Machine has released his latest album, Won’t He Do It. Westside Gunn also recently announced that he would be executive producing Estee Nack’s latest album, which is out next Friday. Albums from the Griselda roster have also been teased for 2023, including the highly-anticipated second album from Stove God Cooks and sequels to Hall & Nash and WWCD. On top of that, Westside Gunn’s & Then U Pray For Me is slated for a June 23 release, and Benny The Butcher’s next collaboration with Hit-Boy is out in August. With their stacked roster and constant music output, Griselda is one of hip hop’s hardest-working collectives. 

The Family Connection

The core of Griselda’s foundation is that it stems from family. Westside Gunn and Conway are brothers, and Benny The Butcher is their cousin. Though they are now established in their own solo lanes, they continue moving as a group and family. They have a plethora of songs together, including “Brutus,” “George Bondo,” and “The Butcher and the Blade.” As Griselda, they released their group album, 2019’s WWCD on Shady Records. The album’s title stands for What Would Chine Gun Do?, in reference to Benny’s brother and the cousin of Westside and Conway, who went by “Machine Gun Black.” Conway famously rapped about his passing on “The Cow,” widely regarded as his best verse. Griselda’s family connection has led to their impressive chemistry on a track and unity as a group.

Griselda Put Buffalo On The Map

The story of Griselda, coming up in Buffalo is quite remarkable. From Westside and Benny’s time in prison to Conway’s near-death experience that left him with Bell's Palsy, they put their city on the map. Their success story is well-documented and can be seen in their Buffalo Soldiers documentary with Revolt. Mixtapes like Westside Gunn’s Hitler Wears Hermes 2 and Conway’s Reject 2 helped establish Griselda’s grimy and tough sound.

Daringer’s production was integral to creating the Griselda sound, producing most of their classic songs like “Rex Ryan” and “Eric B.” His production is minimal, with slowed jazz and rock samples over knocking drum breaks. DJ Shay was also important for their rise and was a mentor for Benny The Butcher and Armani Caesar early in their rap careers. Thanks to Griselda, Buffalo now has its signature sound and is seen as a city of talent.

Quality & Consistent Output From Griselda Artists

One of the main reasons Griselda is one of the hardest-working collectives in hip hop is their constant output of quality music. It is rare for a Griselda artist not to release at least every year. Each member even tends to release multiple albums a year. Westside Gunn has a historic run with his studio albums like Flygod and Supreme Blientele. He also has ten installments of his Hitler Wears Hermes series. Won’t He Do It is only Conway’s third official album, but he has several mixtapes and collaborations, including his Everybody Is F.O.O.D. mixtape series. Benny’s catalog consists of four installments of his Tana Talk series and multiple EPs and collaborations. The other Griselda artists on the label are building their discographies. Boldy James and Rome Streetz have extensive catalogs but have only recently started releasing music under Griselda.

Griselda never lacks when it comes to releasing music. What distinguishes them from other artists that release music at such high volumes is that there is rarely any filler. With an absurd amount of quality music arriving consistently, Griselda is easily among the hardest-working collectives.

In addition to music, Griselda built their empire with their merchandise. They released limited quantities of hoodies and t-shirts with unique designs. The high demand for their merchandise also translated to an even higher demand for CDs and vinyl. Early on, Griselda teamed up with Daupe Media to release limited exclusive vinyl, selling out in minutes, never to be repressed again. Griselda built their brand around their unique approach to releasing music and merchandise.

Solo & Group Success

In a Wu-Tang fashion, the artists have dispersed throughout the music industry. Their dominance in the underground hip hop scene permeated into mainstream audiences, signing with major labels and playing large festivals. Gunn, Conway, and Benny were recognized by hip hop legends early on in their careers, passing the torch for them to wave the flag for street rap. In 2017, the group signed with Eminem’s Shady Records and teamed up with JAY-Z’s Roc Nation for management in 2019. Benny The Butcher also signed with Def Jam last year. He earned Griselda Records its first plaque when “Johnny P’s Caddy” achieved gold status. 

Though not every foundational member is still on the label, Griselda still moves as a unit. Westside Gunn and Conway teamed up on Conway’s latest album for “Brucifix.” One of the hardest working collectives, Griselda is still strong as a group and as a label, signing established artists and putting on new talent.

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About The Author
Wyatt Westlake is a writer from Somerville, MA. He has been writing about hip hop, RnB, and beyond for almost a decade, joining the HNHH team in 2023. Majoring in Communication Studies, he is currently finishing his BA at Temple University. Wyatt is also a radio presenter, hosting his own shows and curating eclectic playlists since 2019. An avid concert-goer, one all-time moment for him was when Dave brought him onstage to perform “Thiago Silva” in front of a sold-out crowd.